Answer to the Parasite Case of the Week 723: mite, not scabies. Given that this mite was found in a fungal culture from skin scrapings, it could very well be a dust mite (Dermatophagoides sp.) as many of you suggested. However, mites are challenging to identify, so genus/species level identification is best left to the acarologists (people who study mites and ticks).
The biggest concern here is its location - on a fungal culture in the mycology laboratory. Mites are a terror in the mycology lab. They crawl from plate to plate, contaminating and destroying cultures from patient samples. In most cases, the culture plates need to be destroyed and the lab decontaminated. This is the reason why my colleague, Dr. Wengenack, was so upset to find these! However, she knew of my interest in mites and was kind enough to donate this case to the blog.
Some readers questioned if these were scabies mites. Fortunately scabies mites (Sarcoptes scabei) can be easily differentiated from most zoonotic and environmental mites by their rounded bodies and short legs: